This Nanny Loves::: Snack Kebabs

There have been a lot of table battles over here. The kind of epic proportions where someone goes screaming into timeout and the rest of us pretend like we can’t hear the noise in the kitchen. So when things get tough, I get out my battle swords and stick food on them. For some reason, no one fights the kebab snack. And for whatever reason, I don’t really care, because as long as we’re eating and happy, I’m not going to question it!

Here are some of our favorite afternoon snack kebabs! Am I the only one who does this little trick?  Kabob 1Kabob 3Kabob 2


We’re almost through the week. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….

Books We Love

March was reading month. And we did a lot of it. But not because it was reading month, but instead, because we like to read. Childrens Literature has also been a passion of mine. In particular, I think it’s interesting that even at a young age, children will choose books whose characters & story they identify with. Lately, we have been gravitating towards some really great reads! And because they’re so great, I thought I’d pass them along to you. Perhaps you’ll see some common themes that relate to our life at The Green Egg.

Books we love1. Curios George Visits the Library. Marget & H.A Rey’s. We all know this little rascal has lot’s of stories to tell, but by far this story is our favorite. Whenever I read this story, I always change the word “librarian” to our favorite librarian’s name. It adds a sweet little touch that always makes the kids smile. Who doesn’t like reading tales of mischief that takes place at the library?

2. The Snowy Day. Ezra Jack Keats. This book started becoming popular with the kids once it started snowing. Honestly they didn’t care for it when the weather was nice, and neither did I for that matter. But as the snow piled higher and higher, this book kept finding itself in our pile of books. On a personal level, I love the illustrations in this book. And the simple language it is written in makes it easy for the kids to understand and love!

3. Too Many Toys. David Shannon. Okay, this one might be one of my favorites! I like the lesson behind it. I also like that when we are cleaning up, I can quote certain lines from it that makes the kids giggle. TOO MANY TOYS! For real though, I may be identifying with this book just a little too much.

4. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Judith Viorst. The title explains the whole premise of this book. And oh when I found this classic in the basement, my nerdy heart lept with joy and I just had to bring it up for the kids! And it’s a very good thing I did, because one of us was very guilty of being an Alexander! Already I’ve read this book five times today. Thankfully, the lesson in the book translated well and no one had to move to Australia here! Not yet at least.

5. Olivia Forms a Band. Ian Falconer. I know these books are on the trend right now- but for a good reason. I love little Olivia Pig! She is an extroverted, fun little piggy that kids of all types can appreciate. This book is our favorite though! Probably because she’s a little creative, a little loud and a little over the top in it! Yes, I can relate to Olivia, too.

6. Pickle-Chiffon Pie. Jolly Roger Bradfield. I had never read this book until earlier this year. It is actually Boss Mom’s favorite, and in turn, her children adore it as well. It’s a sweet little story about love and following your heart, with great illustrations, and symbolic, silly names! I am going to be ordering this for my niece for her birthday– it’s definitely a book that should be shared with all children. Books we love 2What are your favorite books to snuggle up and read with kids? Please, share!

Help! We’re Trapped Inside ALL Day!

Here are ten of our favorite indoor activities for when we can’t get outside. What do you like to do when you’re trapped inside all day?

1. Put the crayons and paper on the floor. 

There is something about doing art on the floor that increases a child’s attention span. It’s true. Try it! One of our favorite things to do when we’re trapped inside is get a LONG piece of paper, trace ourselves and make self-portraits. And when we have lot’s of time to burn, I pull out the big guns! Oh yes, you know what I’m talking about: glitter. Because no self portrait is complete without a glittery shirt.

2. Make a mess. 

I give up on cleaning some days. After all, at my job, the proof of a successful day is a messy room.  In an attempt to keep this fresh, I rotate the toys that the kids have from the basement to the playroom upstairs every month or so. In this way, when we are trapped indoors, I can grab a box from the basement we haven’t seen in a while, dump it on the floor with a grand gesture and VOILA! We have new toys to play with!

3. Bake some muffins. 

Food can cure a lot of things… hunger pains, a headache, boredom. When we’re trapped inside, I like to start baking with the kids. Our favorite thing to whip up is muffins. I like to time my baking with when the older kids get off the bus. If we save our baking projects until late in the afternoon, it gives me and the kiddos something to look forward to! And also, this way the other kids have a warm snack when they get in!

4. Puppets.

We have two favorite puppets around here: Girlfriend, who is a cheerleader, and the cook, who has a Russian accent and tends to be a bit bossy.  I don’t know where the kids get these ideas from... ok, fine. You caught me, I thought of these ones. But when I tire of hearing myself, I sometimes call for the puppets to reveal themselves from hiding. If I yell loud enough, out they come and soon the laughter follows! It isn’t always easy to transition into “puppet mode”, but on a good day I could probably audition for Sesame Street.

5. Movie Theater.

This is something I used to do a lot when I was in college and watched a preschooler. We would spend hours getting a movie theater ready. This took more time than you might imagine. First, we had to decorate paper sacks for the popcorn to go in. And they had to look good. We didn’t want our movie goers to be disappointed. We would color and use glitter until you couldn’t even see that old paper bag!

Then, we would make money. Of course movies are expensive, so you need to make a lot of money. For this I would cut strips of paper out. Then we would practice writing numbers on them, along with drawing lots of shapes. After which, we find our fanciest purses and evenly distribute the money.

And what would a movie theater be without a concession stand and ticket counter? After popping popcorn, making lemonade, slicing apples (to go with the peanut butter of course) we would fill our trays, then stand in line to pay. At last, all of that hard work paid off and we could sit on the couch, snuggle and watch a movie. Phew! We deserved a break after that!

6. Tea Parties.

We have quite a few tea parties around here. Aren’t all the two year olds doing it? While they are getting dressed in their princess and cowboy costumes, I warm up the water. Then, once they come to the table, I give them each a spoonful of honey to stir into their water to make “tea”. On special days, I give them some oranges to squeeze into their tea for a little extra flavor. They love it! And I love it, too. It’s nice to have someone to drink tea with in the afternoon.

7. Alphabet Hunt

For this, we pull out our alphabet flashcards. Then, one at a time, we look around the house and try to find where that letter is. This game is as much fun indoors as it is to play outdoors.

8. Dance Party.

Need I say more? Get those endorphins pumping with a little Neil Diamond. At least that’s what we do around here.

9. Kids Yoga.

You can never get kids involved in yoga too early. Sometimes we drop down into downward dog when we aren’t even doing yoga- it’s just that fun! Yoga with kids is awesome and definitely something that I intend to do more as the kids get older. The positive effects that it has on the kids blows my mind! And this calm physical activity helps to expend a lot of energy without making the kids more crazy! Hooray! What’s not to like about that!?

10. Bath Time.

Not baths for us…baths for the toys? What, even Elmo needs a bath now and then. For this activity I find the biggest bowl in the kitchen, fill it up with warm water and bubbles and toss their little figurines in. Then, I put the bowl on a big towel in the middle of the kitchen. Most of the time, I’ll let the twinners strip down to their diapers, but as they get older this activity makes less and less of a mess. I just give them a little wash rag and let them go at it! Sometimes the twins can do this activity close to forty minutes, which is quite a long time for such little ones! I HIGHLY recommend toy bath time!

Nanny House Rules

House Rules. We all have them– what are yours?

Around here, I kept rules to a minimum. Mostly I do this because the fewer rules I have, the fewer the kids have to recognize and the higher success rate we have. Hey, I’m all about doing what it takes to keep the peace. No one wants a bunch of clauses and regulations to follow when you’re trying to play.

Here are our house rules:
1. Be kind to others.
2. Be mindful of your actions so as not to hurt yourself or others.

Being kind goes without saying. If I can be an example of anything, I hope it is kindness. And if I can teach kids anything I want it to be that kindness trumps any other personality trait.

This idea of being mindful, however, is a relatively new way for me to explain things to older children. But I have to brag and say, it really works! I explain to the kinds that “being mindful” means you are aware of yourself and your body, as well as your surrounding, including but not limited to animals, things on the floor and people smaller than you. It means that you recognize what you are doing when you are doing it. We should always try to be mindful in everything we do.

It takes a couple of conversations for children to grasp this, but it is definitely a concept they are capable of understanding. Honestly, this word: mindful, has made a major positive effect in the way that kids respond to what I am telling them. Because instead of scolding, “you can’t be that loud! The baby is sleeping!” I now say, “Please be mindful that the baby is sleeping when you’re talking.” In this way, the kids recognize that they can talk, but they need to keep it down. It also teaches them to be in control of their actions, rather than having me micromanage them constantly. Hey, anything that can cut down on nagging is an all around win! Try it and let me know what you think. I hope it works for you as much as it works for me.

Nanny Must Haves

This week’s list of Nanny Must-Haves includes but is not limited to…

1. Coffee.

coffeeI have to feed my morning addiction. Sometimes, I even feed it in the afternoon. And while I know all that caffeine can’t be the best for me, I’m a much better dancer, pretender, chef extraordinaire, basketball player, hide-and-seeker, painter…and so the list goes… when I have my morning coffee.  How two-year old’s don’t consume coffee and have that much energy is beyond me.

2. Bubble Gum. Gum

It’s my best bargaining device ever. With years of experimental proof behind this claim, I can guarantee GUM to give any nanny a sense of peace throughout their day. Going on a long car ride with an unwilling toddler? There’s gum for that! Need to stop at the grocery store a little too close to meal time? There’s gum for that! I’m not saying I believe in bribing children…wait, yes I am. A little sugar-less gum never hurt anyone.

3. Library Card.

Books bW

We have a close, personal relationship with our local librarian. As she says, “when they walk in here, they look like they own place!” To which I tell her, “probably because they do think that!” Their confidence, however, is attributed to the fact that I have been taking the twins to story time since they were one. They are incredibly comfortable there because it is a part of their normal routine. The librarian has even started calling them the President and Vice-President of her Fan Club. When things are rough at home, we load up and head to the library, where some extra hugs from the librarian always recharge our positive attitude levels. Going to story time and connecting with the library has helped to instill a passion for reading at a very young age, as well as increased their self-esteem and social skills. If your little kiddos are looking for something to do, I highly recommend this from one nanny to the other.

4. Creativity.

BW PlaydoughWith each of the families I have worked for, art has always been a priority. I like to craft and create, so naturally, I want my little ones to experience the same pleasure. My philosophy at art time? We all have a right to create, whatever way we choose, but please, don’t paint the furniture.